Oct. 13, 2017 The ver.di services union organised further strike action among health workers on 10 and 11 October as a further step in its campaign to deal with massive staffing shortages across the sector. The union is looking to negotiate agreements to tackle overwork, excessive overtime and workers being called out at short notice to fill staffing gaps. Ver.di wants to see all workers take their proper breaks and ultimately the aim is for national legislation to set minimum staffing levels.
Oct. 12, 2017 Nurses employed by the Cancer Society will see their pay and conditions protected after the longest strike ever organised by the NSF nurses' union. The strike was called when the employers moved to a new employers' organisation with a poorer collective agreement. The new agreement will protect the union's right to strike and ensure that industry-standard minimum pay rates apply.
Oct. 12, 2017 The CGSP/ACOD public service federation, part of the FGTB socialist confederation, organised a national strike on 10 October. The union was protesting against the austerity policies of the government, weakening of employment rights in the public sector, reduced pension entitlement and the increased threat of privatisation. The union is also objecting to plans to impose minimum service requirements when public service unions taken strike action. The union says that minimum service agreements are currently negotiated with public service employers and should not be unilaterally imposed by the government.
Oct. 12, 2017 Following a strategy meeting to discuss its key priorities, the FOA public services union has announced that it will be calling for a flat-rate pay increase in the forthcoming collective bargaining round. The union says this will be important in continuing to tackle low pay and close the gender pay gap. The FOA also wants action to improve training and education for unskilled workers. The union will be coordinating bargaining with 35 other trade unions and the first joint meeting with employers will be on 12 December.
Oct. 12, 2017 The JHL public services union says that it will aim for a flat-rate rather than a percentage pay rise in the upcoming bargaining round as a step towards closing the pay gap between the low and high paid. Another priority for the union is more control for workers over working time and shift work, seen as crucial to improve well-being at work. JHL will also be looking at initiatives to address the cut in holiday bonus in the public sector and action on zero-hours contracts.
Oct. 11, 2017 Strike action and demonstrations in over 140 cities across the country were part of a successful day of action on 10 October organised by the nine public sector trade union organisations. Unions estmate that over 400000 joined the national protests involving workers right across the public services. The day of action was in protest at government plans to freeze pay again and to cut jobs. The unions are due to meet the public services minister, Gérald Darmanin, and they will then meet together on 23 October to discuss whether and when to take further action. A contingent with EPSU banners joined the national demonstration in Paris.
Sep. 26, 2017 Nine public sector trade union organisations have come together to organise a national day of action on 10 October in protest at government attacks on the pay, conditions and jobs of public service workers. The unions accuse President Macron of doing the opposite of what he proposed in his presidential election campaign. Far from increasing pay, his government is maintaining the pay freeze for public sector workers. There is also a threat to 120000 jobs across the public services and the re-introduction of a waiting day before claiming sick pay. The unions will organise demonstrations and strike action in order to reinforce their demands for proper negotiations on the day set by the public services minister for talks on pay.
Sep. 26, 2017 The Care and Welfare section of the FNV trade union has called on the government and employers to commit to urgent action to tackle understaffing and overwork in the ambulance service. The union says that increasing demand and lack of staff is creating an untenable situation and making it impossible for the service to meet its performance targets. FNV says the sector needs more permanent staff, accelerated training and adjustments to salaries so that they are in line with other collective agreements in the health sector. If there is no concrete response by 1 October the union will decide on what protest action to take.
Sep. 26, 2017 On 15 September 14 health sector trade unions submitted a joint pay claim to the government. Pay negotiations in the sector are normally carried out in a special pay review body that includes employer and trade union representatives. However, the 14 unions decided to bypass this mechanism and ask the government directly for extra funding in next year's budget for health workers' pay. The basic claim would be an increase in line with inflation plus £800 (910 EUR) as a step towards recouping the estimated 15% loss of purchasing power suffered by workers over several years of pay freezes and pay increases below inflation.
Sep. 26, 2017 The Sanitas health trade union is asking members to sign up on its website if they support strike action over bonuses, pay and other issues. The union is reacting to Ministry of Health proposals that would impose a cap on bonuses and restrict bonuses for working conditions for technical and administrative staff. The union is also very concerned about proposals to shift social contributions from employers to employees that would effectively wipe out any agreed pay increases. Sanitas also wants action to ensure fair pay levels for different occupations.
Sep. 26, 2017 Protest action and a petition promoted by the vpod/ssp public services union and supported by other trade unions, political parties and civil society has led to a change to draft legislation in the Freibourg/Fribourg region that would have removed the right to strike for care workers (see epsucob@NEWS 15, 2017). The union said that the mobilisation of care staff had been important for the outcome and reinforces the importance of the right to strike in underpinning the unions' ability to negotiate effectively.
Sep. 26, 2017 The JHL public sector union is preparing for the upcoming round of collective bargaining by surveying members and activists over the key elements for negotiation across the 60 agreements that it covers, most of which expire in January 2018. This time there will be not be a framework agreement negotiated with employers but the union will be in discussion with other members of the SAK confederation with a view to setting some common demands.
Sep. 26, 2017 Following votes across all the public sector unions, a majority (14), accounting for 80% by membership supported the new agreement on pay and conditions with three voting against. The three-year deal includes six pay increases (two targeted at the lower paid only) and will mean that the majority of public sector workers (73%) will see an overall increase of 7% by the end of the agreement. There is a range of other conditions that have been confirmed as part of the deal including the retention of outsourcing protections, the option to negotiate on returning to a shorter working week and provisions on work-life balance.
Sep. 25, 2017 The Health Workersù Union of Ukraine (HWUU) organised a major protest outside the national parliament on 19 September focusing on pay, healthcare funding and against the commercialisation of the health system. The union called on the government to respond to the labour dispute registered by the union last year and to deal with urgent issues around unpaid wages and failure to properly implement the agreed pay system. The union was also calling for increased funding for the sector and other initiatives to improve health provision. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Sep. 25, 2017 Member of the services union ver.di working in several hospitals across the country took strike action on 19 September as part of the union's campaign on safe staffing levels and reducing workloads. EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan sent a message of support, underlining the importance of protecting the well-being of both health workers and patients by taking urgent action to reduce staff shortages in the sector estimated at over 160000, including over 70000 frontline care workers.